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Unbroken's avatar

Do you know of a good comprehensive database of spices, herbs and peppers?

Asked by Unbroken (10746points) March 25th, 2013

I am looking to expand my cooking and flavor reportoire.

What I would like to find is a database that contains a full list of spices a description of the taste and flavor, as well as what it is commonly used in or on. Any additional information about the history and or researched and vetted health benefits would be a bonus. Actually it might be better to have a dish with a list of spices that are commonly associated with that dish and so forth.

I have been able to find one or directories. But they were incomplete and hard to navigate. I was wondering if there was something available that was more user friendly.

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7 Answers

gailcalled's avatar


I, for example, am an expert on dill, tarragon, basil, turmeric, mint and oregano.

marinelife's avatar

I’m sorry. The one I use is in book form.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@rosehips I have a bunch of books on herbs and spices. If you want to ask anything go ahead.

Earthgirl's avatar

@rosehips This book may not be as complete as you like but for 1 cent (plus shipping) it seems to be well reviewed and dearly loved. As a matter of fact, I may buy it myself. It looks like fun. The best thing to do is just keep trying new things and see what flavors you like. I love most herbs and spices except for tarragon…also not crazy about mint. I love cilantro but have a friend who hates it. The only way you can know is to try.

As for health benefits this gives a good overview of things but the literature is a little too vast for quick perusal. I would check out some of the references given here for further info. If I find anything more helpful and concise I will post it later.

For now I think that this is the best that I can find. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the info though. So much of the medicinal herb info is contradictory and unsupported by serious scientific study, so please, take with a grain of salt…but not too much salt, lol….it might increase your blood pressure.

Earthgirl's avatar

Check this out-American Botanical Council

As far as recipes containing the spice I would go backwards. Start with the spice you want to use and do an advanced search for recipes with that spice. Epicurious has a great search function for this.

Unbroken's avatar

Wow, ya’ll are fantastic! (hugs) I did order the first book @Earthgirl and perused and bookmarked the other sites for later perusal.

@Adirondackwannabe Well I have coho salmon filet quinoa and various frozen vegies -no flavor packs, a tiny bit of lettuce, celery and carrots a few grape tomatos and an avocado. Using no dairy how I can I spice up my dinner, I do have an assortment of herbs? Normally I would go lemon juice, dill and or lemon pepper or in the past garlic but I would dearly love something different. You did ask : )

@gailcalled Basil and mint I always grow those in a pot so I have some fresh. And I also like turmeric. I recently bought a different type of basil seeds. I can’t find the packaging now but it seems like a significant difference. Maybe I got confused.

But I have a lot to learn about them basil I use for pesto or to off set a tomato dish. Not sure what else it is good for. I use mint for green tea and homemade sorbets occasionally in my green smoothies.

Turmeric I use on potatoes and in my tuna avocado salad on occasion I have tried to use it in rice but you can taste the grit. I should learn how to make good soups.

I am sure you can expand on uses. I find something and get stuck in cooking ruts. So any suggestions you have would be appreciated.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@rosehips As I stand facing the stove the left side of the counter is covered with spices, probably my favorite being the rosemary grinder. We grow rosemary in the summer and dry it and run it through the grinder. My lady did a bunch of thyme Sunday, it grows great as a houseplant. Basil is good with tomatos. Just experiment and see what you like. Blends are also good, they bring a richness you can’t get from salt and pepper. If you want any more info let me know.

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